6D/5N
Duration
Easy
Grade
5/10
Physicality
45 Km
Trail Length
3636 m/11925 ft
Highest Point

Sandakphu Trek

Sandakphu trek route reaches the highest point of West Bengal, Sandakphu at 3636 m/11926 ft, (Coordinates; 27.105096N, 88.001708E) inside Darjeeling district. This trek follows the famous Singalila Ridge, a prominent spur of high ground that lies at the southern end of a long crest, which runs down from the Kanchendzongha massif and forms the border between Sikkim & Nepal. One of the unavoidable necessities of trekking in Himalaya is that the best views are had from high up but the trek along this ridge, passing through small settlements, is perhaps the one of the most scenically rewarding in the Himalaya. This is indeed an ideal trek for the beginners with a tea-house style but a must visit for the experienced trekkers also. There are spectacular panoramic views of Nepal Himalayas including Kanchendzongha range, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Jannu, Chamlang, Baruntse and a host of Sikkim peaks all seen in one stretch. The famous “Sleeping Buddha” formation of peaks is a delight for all. The trail goes along the motor able road to Sandakphu (yes, there is one!), frequently taking detour and shortcuts. Sandakphu trek trail switches between India and Nepal all the way till Sandakphu. In fact the PWD motor road is the de facto border in stretches.  Most of the settlements and hamlets we pass by are geographically in Nepal. As a matter of fact all our homestay/lodge during Sandakphu trek are in Nepal. The trail is inside Singalila National park boasting numerous species of birds and wild flowers. This region is in Eastern Himalayan diversity hot spot (http://www.biodiversityofindia.org/index.php?title=Biodiversity_hotspots_in_India) and home to endangered Red Panda (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/714/0 ) .  It is rare but not impossible that you get a glance of this shy animal, especially around Gairibas or while descending to Gurdum. Flowering of Rhododendrons and Magnolia turn the forest into red, pink and white shades during spring time. Scent of mist and flowers have its own charm. During fall weather turns clearer and hue of the foliage is eye catching.

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1: NJP to Chitrey by car – 100 Km – 4/5 hours
Day 2: Trek to Tumling – 9 Km – 6 hours
Day 3: Trek to Kalapokhari – 12 Km – 6/7 hours
Day 4: Trek to Sandakphu – 6 Km – 4/5 hours
Day 5:  Trek from Sandakphu to Timburey via Gurdum village– 15 Km – 7/8 hours
Day 6: Walk 1 and half hour to the Srikhola road head and drive to NJP – 150 Km – 6/7 hours or Darjeeling town ( 90 Km, 4 hours)

Seasons for Sandakphu trek:

Being in the Nepal/Sikkim border this area observes longer monsoon. Clouds start to hover from April and prolong till October beginning. There are two distinct seasons when this year trek is particularly beautiful:

1) Spring/Summer for Rhododendron season: From mid of March to Mid of May. Flowering starts from early March in the lower elevation, and gradually towards end of spring on higher altitude. Rhododendron and Giant Magnolia are two most famous along with several other wild flower species. Cloudy or misty atmosphere is common during Spring. Though clear mountains views are not uncommon, specially during morning.

2) Fall/Winter for clear weather: From mid October to January. In the beginning of October clouds start moving out from this region and weather becomes clearer. November is  particularly known for its crystal clear views of the mountains.

Accommodations during Sandakphu trek:

This is a “Tea House” trek, i.e we don’t camp inside Singalila National Park but stay in Homestay/Lodge available on the trail. As you should expect on a mountain trail, these are basic accommodation run by the local Nepali/Tibetan families. Rooms are dormitory bed type with triple/quad sharing or more. Beds and blankets are neat and clean. Don’t expect an attached toilet or running water anywhere.

Mobile network and battery charging facility during Sandakphu trek:

You will get network around your all the night accommodations. However the networks are not steady and working network depends upon place to place and providers. If you switch on your international roaming then probably you will get through a call.

At Chitrey and Tonglu you can charge your batteries. At Kalapokhri and Sandakphu charging facility depends on availability of generator. There is a possibility that you may charge the battery while paying for the same. It is always advised that you carry a fully charged power bank or at least a spare battery for your camera.

Restrictions to Sandakphu trek:

The trail to Sandakphu mostly runs inside Singalila national Park.  During monsoon no permit is issued inside the Park (boundary starts just after Tumling) and closed from 16th June to 15th September.

You can try the shorter trekking trip of Chitrey – Tumling – Dhotrey if you are interested in monsoon. This part of the trail is outside the boundary of the National Park and hence no such restriction in terms of permit.

Access to Sandakphu trek base (Chitrey):

We will arrange a pickup  from NJP/Bagdogra/Siliguri to Chitrey and drop from Srikhola to NJP/Bagdogra. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis and paid directly to the driver. Typically a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Maxx type Jeep charges Rs 3500 for a drop to Chitrey and Rs 5500 from Srikhola to NJP/Bagdogra. One such car can accommodate 6 to 8 people. This cost is NOT included in the TREK FEE.

To reach the trek base Chitrey the access in from NJP/Siliguri/Bagdogra. For details on how to reach nearest railways station/airport and move to trek base independently/public transportation check the details in GETTING THERE TAB.

Click here to view the List of Things to carry in Sandakphu trek

Download the PDF brochure for Sandakphu trek

Duration: 4 days of trek; NJP/Bagdogra to NJP  return in 6 days.

Prerequisite: Ideal for beginners/first Himalayan trek. Descent is steep and sustained.

Grade: Easy

Physicality: 5/10

Trail Length: 45 Km

Highest Point: Sandakphu ~ 3636 m/11930 ft

Seasons: March to May and October to February.

Further Option: Continue on Singalila ridge to Phalut and descent to Srikhola via Gorkhey.  80 Km long Moderate grade trek.

Access: Trek starting point is Chitrey (Maneybhanjung) and end point is Srikhola.

Rail station: New Jalpaiguri (STN Code: NJP)

Airport: Bagdogra (Code: IXB)

 Map:

Upcoming scheduled dates for Sandakphu trek: 

  • You can check the scheduled Fixed Departure dates in the calendar available inside Booking Form or inside REGISTER NOW form. Tour starting Dates are highlighted as per our itinerary (Day 1 of 6 days itinerary).
  • At present BOOK NOW functionality is disabled. You can get all the information in your email by submitting the REGISTER NOW form.
  • If you are a group of people and available dates are not matching then you may select Custom date mode (by clicking the Select your custom date) and fill in the displayed form.
  • You can also check all the available dates at a glance in our TREK CALENDAR.
  • Trekkers need to reach NJP on Day 1 morning or the previous night. Return to NJP on Day 8 afternoon or early evening. Arrange your tickets for inward journey and return accordingly.
DEPARTURE LOCATION New Jailpaiguri railway station
REPORTING TIME 10:00 AM for a prompt departure to Chitrey (Day 1)
RETURN LOCATION NJP/Siliguri
RETURN TIME Approximately 5:00 PM (Day 6)

How to reach Chitrey (The trek base):

Nearest Rail station: New Jailpaiguri (Station Code: NJP)

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra (Airport Code: IXB)

We will arrange a pickup  from NJP/Bagdogra/Siliguri to Chitrey and drop from Srikhola to NJP/Bagdogra. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis and paid directly to the driver. Typically a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Maxx charges Rs 3500 for a drop to Chitrey and Rs 5500 from Srikhola to NJP/Bagdogra. One such car can accommodate 6 to 8 people. This is NOT included in the TREK FEE and to be payable directly to the driver/owner.

If you wish to reach our Trek Base Chitrey on your own by public transportation:

Reaching Chitrey without a reserved vehicle will require some local road knowledge and changing of vehicles. Return from Srikhola is much easier as there are direct shared service to Siliguri and Darjeeling.

  • From NJP railway station take a shared jeep for Darjeeling and get down at Ghoom railway station. You can get one such shared jeep from Tenzing Norgay Bus terminus/Junction area in Siliguri also. From Ghoom take one shared service for Sukhiapokhri which is 12 Km. Change from here to Maneybhanjang, 7 Km away. Our trek base Chitrey is 3 Km up on the Sandakphu road. You are supposed to reach our Homestay at Chitrey on your own. You may get one vehicle to hire from Maneybhanjang to Chitrey (for Rs 400/500) but that depends on time and on driver’s will.
  • From NJP/Bagdogra reach Darjeeling Mor (crossing/chowk in Siliguri on the way to Darjeeling) on Hill Cart Road. From here you get shared services for Sukhiapokhri. From Sukhia you can reach Chitrey as mentioned earlier. Be sure that you have enough time as you may have to wait long for your turn. Sometime you may get a direct Maneybhanjung service (essentially the cars returning to Srikhola) in around noon/early afternoon.
  • While returning things are much easier. There are morning shared services from Srikhola to Siliguri and Darjeeling. For Srikhola there are two vehicles early in the morning at 5:30 am to SIliguri. It takes 6/7 hours to reach Darjeeling Mor in Siliguri (Rs 400 per seat). From here take an auto rickshaw to NJP/Bagdogra.
  • From Srikhola you get shared services for Darjeeling city. Early morning vehicles start between 6 and 7 am. Then you get jeeps between 10 and 11 am. It takes around 4 hours to Darjeeling (Rs 200 per seat).

How to reach NJP:

For the treks in Sikkim and Darjeeling , one has to reach the city of Siliguri (considered the corridor to the North-East) in West Bengal.

The nearest Railway Station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP), 5 Km from Siliguri and the airport Bagdogra is 10 Km.

You can fly or by train reach Siliguri from Kolkata ( good for the trekkers coming from South/central or Western India) or Delhi as per your convenience from any part within India.

Direct flights are available from New Delhi and Kolkata. All the flights to Bagdogra reaches late in the morning or early afternoon. It becomes difficult to reach the trek base like Yuksom/Hilley/Uttarey on the same day unless a car is booked (takes around 8 hours to reach). One can stay the night in Siliguri and start the travel to the trek base next morning. It is better to reach Siliguri by flight/train to Kolkata and then take an overnight train to NJP unless you are coming from northern India. 

From Kolkata to Siliguri:

1) By train:

There are several overnight trains running between Kolkata (Howrah or Sealdah) to NJP. Day trains are also available.

From airport (Dumdum, CCU) , Sealdah railway station is 15 Km and may take 1 to 2 hours depending upon the time you travel. Howrah is 17 Km and may take up to 2 hours during the heavy traffic in the rush hours. Howrah and Sealdah are only 5 Km apart, though it may take an hour to travel. Pre Paid taxi booths are available.

DARJEELING MAIL – Train No. – 12343 (Good option to reach NJP in the morning. Starts around 10 pm in the night and reaches NJP 8 am in the morning.)
PADATIK EXPRESS – Train No. – 12377 (Good option to reach NJP in the morning. Starts around 11 pm in the night and reaches NJP 9 am in the morning.)
KANCHANKANYA EXPRESS – Train No. – 13149 (Starts at 8:30 pm in the evening and reaches NJP 7:30 am in the morning)
SHATABDI EXPRESS – Train No. – 12041 (Day train, starts 2:15 pm in the afternoon and reaches NP at 10:20 pm in the night. There are hotels/lodges outside the railway station at a walking distance of 5 minutes. Otherwise book an auto rickshaw/taxi to Siliguri, which takes around 15 minutes. There are several hotels around Siliguri Junction/Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus/S.N.T (Sikkim Nationalised Transport stand).

There are other trains also of which some run daily and some on particular days of week.

Avoid booking wait listed (WL) tickets in AC classes (1A/2A/3A) or Chair Car (CC). Book Sleeper class (SL)/Second Sitting class (2S) tickets which have normally more seats/berths and hence much better chance to get confirmed.

2) By flight:

From Kolkata(CCU)  take a flight to Bagdogra (IXB). From airport book a taxi to reach Siliguri which is 10 Km away.

From Delhi to Siliguri:

1) By Train:

Following trains are good to reach NJP and run daily.

DIBRUGARH RAJDHANI – Train No. 12424 (arrives NJP late in the morning @ 10:45 am)
NORTH EAST EXP – Train No. 12506 (arrives NJP @ 8:20 am in the morning)
BRAHMAPUTRA MAIL – Train No. 12424 (arrives NJP at 5 am in the morning. But this train runs late frequently.

Always avoid booking wait listed (WL) tickets in AC classes (1A/2A/3A) or Chair Car (CC). Book Sleeper class (SL)/Second Sitting class (2S) tickets which have normally more seats/berth and hence much better chance to get confirmed.

2) By flight:

From Delhi (DEL) take a flight to Bagdogra (IXB). From airport book a taxi to reach Siliguri which is 10 Km away.

For night stay in NJP/SIliguri:

Trekkers reaching on the previous day before the journey to the actual trek base need to stay the night in Siliguri/NJP. There are several options in Siliguri for spending a night while staying in Standard or Budget accommodation. It is better to reach to the centre of SIliguri called Siliguri Junction (adjacent to Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus and Sikkim nationalised Transport/S.N.T stand). It takes 30 minutes from Bagdogra or 15 minutes from NJP. There are hotels 5 minutes walking from NJP also.

Return from NJP/Bagdogra:

Normally you reach NJP/Bagdogra from any trek base  by 5/6 pm in the evening. You can take any train after 7 pm to Kolkata safely, which reach early in the morning. Accordingly arrange your homeward journey from Kolkata onward.

Day 1

Drive from NJP/Siliguri/Bagdogra to Chitrey – 100 Km – 5 hours – 100 Km – 5 hours

Pick up from NJP railway station in the morning by 10 am and drive   to Maneybhanjang (~ 1980m, 6500ft). Distance around 110 km and takes 6 hours. The road goes through the foothills of Eastern Himalaya (also called Dooars) and gradually gains the height. There are two roads of which one goes through the hill town of Mirik and the other via Ghoom. The last 2 Km from Maneybhanjung to Chitrey is a steep road with several hairpin bends and eventually reaches the hilltop clearing at Chitrey (~ 2200 m, 7200 ft). Chitrey is a small hamlet with of handful houses and a solitary lodge. There is a colourful monastery and Buddhist Stupa beside. Walk up to the top of the hillock for sunset and a distant view of the hill queen Darjeeling city. All the major mobile networks work here. Night stay in lodge.
sandakphu trek
Chitrey, a beautiful hamlet

Day 2

Trek to Tumling – 9 Km – 6 hours

Our trek starts today. There is a motor able road to Sandakphu from Maneybhanjung and the distance is 33 Km. The same bumpy road goes further even till Phalut. This is not at all advisable as the height gain is abrupt. Only few 1950/60’s made Land rovers ply between Maneybhanjang and Sandakphu. These wonder cars ferry local villagers with loads of provision. Our Sandakphu trek trail often crisscrosses with this road. We start walking and after few turns on the table top meadow reach the tea stall at Lameydhura in an hour. The trail ahead is clearly visible till Meghma while we slowly gain height. As the route often defines the border between India and Nepal so posting of Paramilitary camps of SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) at all the major points are common. From Meghma the the road splits and we take the left one. The one in the right leads to the top of Tonglu and then by descending eventually joins at Tumling. After traversing for an hour and half we reach the destination Tumling (~ 2900m, 9500ft). Total distance is 9 Km and can take 5 hours. We stay for the night in tourist lodge.
tumling-sandakphu
Sunset from Tumling

Day 3

Trek to Kalapokhri – 12 Km – 6/7 hours

Wake up early in the morning to view the sunrise. High Himalayan peaks look magnificent in the golden hue. We start our walk on a level ground and reach the Check post of Singalila National Park in 45 minutes. From here we obtain the permit and get into the national park. Shortly after check post the road bifurcates. We leave the jeep road and take the left trail into Nepal. The terrain is wide spread and walking on the rolling trail we reach Jaubari village inside Nepal. From here the main road leads to the eastern Nepal district town of Ilam while we take a right turn and descend on the stoned trail. The trail far ahead is clearly visible from here and after an hour we descend to the Indian settlement called Gairibas. There is a GTA operated Trekkers Hut, SSB camp and a shop which serves tea and noodles. From this point our climb for the day starts. The road enters into the dense forest and we take shorts cuts often which meet the jeep road while gaining altitude in short distance. In spring this stretch is particularly vibrant with blooming Rhododendrons. A moderate climb of one and half hour leads us to a valley and a small settlement called Kaiyakata. There is a tea stall at the left hand side of the road. From here the road turns to a semicircular arc and splits. We take the left one which gradually enters into the thick forest of conifer, birch. and Rhododendron. After walking an hour a small pond is seen on our left. This is called Kalapokhri (Kala is Black and Pokhri is a Pond in Nepali). From here we take a right turn and reach our destination for the day Kalapokhri (~ 3100m, 10200ft). There are ample lodges beside the main road strip inside Nepal and we stay in a lodge here. Total distance is 12 Km and may take 6/7 hour.

Day 4

Kalapokhri to Sandakphu trek – /6 Km – 4/5 hours; In the evening a walk on Phalut road for the sunset

Today we need to cover a short distance but will be gaining altitude. The lodges on top of Sandakphu can be seen from Kalapokhri. We traverse the mountain ridge to reach Bhikeybhanjang in an hour. This portion of the trail is inside Nepal and Indian road joins here from the other side of the mountain. There is a tea stall on our left and a forest check post on the right. The road splits and the newly built road inside Nepal takes a longer path on our left to reach Sandaphu. We take the straight road ahead and start climbing. The switchback road  has several turns and we go off road in few occasions. On the right hand we can see one ridge after another meeting the horizon. Silver fir, variety of conifers dominate the treeline. After ascending for an hour and half we turn left and reach the top of the ridge Sandakphu (~ 3636m, 11930ft). The left side of the ridge is in Nepal and the right side in India. On both sides of road there are lodges and tourist huts. The top of the ridge is somewhat flat and the north side is open. There is no ridge higher than this point and so the view of the mountains are uninterrupted. Total distance we cover is 6 Km and can take 4/5 hours. Infrequent mobile signal is available. Overnight in private lodge.

Day 5

Sunrise at Sandakphu – Trek down to Timburey via Gurdum village – 15 Km – 7/8 hours

Wake up early to observe the fascinating sunrise. During fall and winters this top remains cold, specially early in the morning. Wind blows directly from Kanchendzongha side. Expect a temperature between 0°C to -10°C (with the wind chill) in fall and winters. Strainght ahead is gigantic Kanchendzongha massif along with Jannu (Kubhakarna) to its left and Pandim to its right, forming as rightly said the “Sleeping Buddha”. Further left in the westward direction you can spot Three Sisters, Barunstse, Makalu, Lhotse, Everest and Chamlang and Chomolongzo. You will never forget the changing hue on Kanchendzongha. After breakfast we start our descent. Today the trail is more likely you get in the other regular treks without an accompanying motor route. Initially the trail goes inside the conifers and later into bamboo forest. The slope of the descent is moderate at stretches and mostly gentle. In 3 hours we reach on the edge of the ridge and vast valley opens up. The picturesque village of Gurdum is seen below, along with the farming fields. After crossing the village we continue our descent to our days night halt at Timburey. This is a small village beside Srikhola river (Khola means river in Nepali) with couple of home stay accommodation. Distance is around 15 Km and can take up to 8  hours.
sandakphu trek
Srikhola

Day 6

Walk to Srikhola - 1 and half hour and drive from Srikhola to NJP – 150 Km – 6/7 hours or (to Darjeeling - 4 hours drive)

Today morning after breakfast we start continue our descent along the river and reach Srikhola in one hour or so. Our trek ends here . An old suspension bridge connects the motor road on the other side towards Rimbick. We take the car back to NJP/Siliguri. We will cross Rimbick, and roads goes either through Dhotrey/Bijanbari to finally Siliguri. If you have few days extra to carry on with vacation, then you can move out towards Darjeeling city which is 90 Km from Srikhola and takes around 4 hour.

P.S.: Distances and altitudes are approximate and may not be exact.

  TREK FEE: Rs 7800 (Chitrey to Srikhola) + 5% GST  

Book for 3-5 persons and get a discount of 5% and for 5 or more persons get flat 10% discount on TREK FEE

Inclusions:

5 night’s accommodation from Chitrey (Day 1) to Srikhola (Day 5) in Private tourist lodge/Government trekkers hut on sharing basis. These lodges are simple and basic in nature with clean beds and linens. Rooms are dormitory type having triple/quad or more sharing. Don’t expect
attached toilet or running water inside.

All meals during the trek. Regular Indian style nutritious vegetarian food during the trek (including occasional eggs), breakfast, hot lunch (enroute), snacks, dinner along with coffee/tea/soup.

Excellent Mountain Guide, who will be a local to this particular area and has profound knowledge of the trekking trails around.

Permit Fee for Singalila National Park.

 Basic First Aid and Medicine kit.

Accidental Insurance Policy covering high altitude trekking tours (For Indian nationals it is included in the TREK FEE, up to 60 years of age). It covers your trek as well as your return journey to NJP/Bagdogra.

Exclusions:

Transportation from NJP/Bagodgra to Chitrey and back (₹ 1200-1500 per person both ways for the pick up and drop)

We assume that you will carry your personal Rucksack/Backpack with all your personal belongings. If you want to offload your Rucksack/Backpack and carried by a personal porter then you need to spend additional charges. Charges are fixed as per association as ₹ 800/day (wage) & ₹ 200/day (subsidised food expenses) i.e.  ₹ 1000/day. A porter can carry up to maximum of 17-18 Kg.

Still/Video camera charges inside the Singalila National Park.

 Any tip/gratuity to the HT supports staff.

Anything is is NOT mentioned in the “Inclusions” or personal in nature.

Booking:

  • We assume that you have read and understood our “Terms & Conditions before Booking a trek/tour.
  • To reserve your place in a scheduled Fixed Departure trek or a Customised/Private trek pay 25% of the Trek/Tour Fee as the initial “Booking Deposit”. You can pay by Net banking/Draft/Cheque/Credit/Debit/AMEX cards. This will ensure your participation in the desired trek and we will reserve your place in the scheduled date. You need to pay the remaining amount at least 15 days before Trek Starting Date.
  • If you book a Trek/Tour before 14 days or less from Trek/Tour Starting Date, you need to pay the full Trek/Tour Fee.

 Cancellations:

  • “Booking Amount” i.e. 25% of the Trek/Tour Fee is Non-Refundable at any stage.
  • If in case you are not able to make it due to unavoidable reason(s), we provide you a very flexible choice of Shifting to another trek within next one year. One year is counted from the starting date of the trek/tour you booked initially with us.
  • In case you postpone your trip you need to inform minimum of 15 days before the trek/tour starting date. (Though we suggest to inform us earlier if known)
  • In case you postpone a trek/tour before 15 days of the scheduled Trek/Tour Starting date or prior, you may shift to another group of the same trek/tour scheduled in the same season or within next one year. You may shift to another suitable route also. For changing any, you need our approval first. Your request must be in written communication through your registered email with us.
  • If you cancel/postpone a trek/tour from 14 days to 8 days before tour starting date, your Booking Amount is Non-Refundable. We will not take any request of shifting dates. We will charge 50% of the amount as Cancellation Charges and process refund of remaining 50%. You may also shift to another group within next year but 25% Booking Amount will be deemed as Cancellation Charge and the rest amount will be transferred to the shifted group.
  • If you cancel a trek/tour 7 days (i.e. a week) before Trek/Tour Starting Date or later, there will be NO REFUND.
  • In case of any unforeseen incident including but not limited to natural calamities like flood, earthquake, landslide, forest fire or any political unrest, if we are compelled to cancel the trek/trip, you will be entitled to redeem the full amount for the same/similar kind of trek/trip within next one year.

If you need more clarifications write in to info@himalayatrekker.com

sandakphu trek